Zindzi Mandela, daughter of former South African president and liberation hero Nelson Mandela, died on Monday, the Mandela family said.
Zindzi Mandela, the youngest daughter of anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson Mandela, rose to international prominence when she read out Nelson Mandela’s rejection of then-president P.W. Botha’s offer of a conditional release from prison in 1985.
The Mandela Legacy Foundation, speaking on behalf of the family, said memorial and funeral arrangements for Zindzi would be announced in the course of the week. It did not say why she had died.
59-year-old Zindzi, who served as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, died in the early hours on Monday in a Johannesburg hospital, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement.
She was posted to Denmark in 2015 and was designated to become head of mission in Monrovia, Liberia.
Ramaphosa expressed sadness at her passing days before Nelson Mandela’s birthday and said she brought home “the unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom”.
“After our liberation she became an icon of the task we began of transforming our society and stepping into spaces and opportunities that had been denied to generations of South Africans,” Ramaphosa’s office quoted him as saying.
During her political career, she served as deputy president of the Soweto Youth Congress and was an underground operative for the African National Congress (ANC) party’s armed wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe.
Pule Mabe, spokesman of the governing ANC party, said: “This is untimely. She still had a role to play in the transformation of our own society and a bigger role to play even in the African National Congress.”